Jomblang Cave : Heaven’s Light (VLOG)

I was sitting on a local night train three weeks ago, thinking hard whether i should just go to Yogyakarta. Logic said that i need to learn how to save, apparently living in Indonesia is not as easy as i thought. But heart said, i think i need to go, release all the tensions and just explore more. Finally, i chose to follow the later part of my voice. The voice that i dont regret at all.

Yogyakarta is a nice quiet city. No wonder that it is renowned as a city of education, or normally the Indonesian will call it ‘Kota Pelajar’. But, aside from its tranquility image, Yogyakarta can really offers you a thrilling adventure that you will not forget for the rest your life.

I welcome you to Goa Jomblang (Jomblang Cave). A place that takes about 90 minutes car-ride from the central of Yogyakarta, located at Semanu, Gunung Kidul Regency. I heard about this place a lot since 3 years ago. I guess its’s only lately it became popular, since many of my friends still dont know this beautiful cave is exist in Indonesia.

We are chasing a glimpse of ‘Heaven’s lights’. So, we started driving about 7.30am from our Airbnb because we need to reach there at least by 9am. The team will prepare us once we reached there, provide us with boots and help us to put on the necessary harness and helmet. And by 10am, all of us have to go down the cave. DSC03301

This is the most interesting part before we get to see the highlight of the day. The process of lowering us down through the biggest sinkhole that i have ever seen in my life. The size of the sinkhole may up to 25meters diameter, with 60 meters deep.

Since they dont have any elevator to get us down, they have to lower us down by Rappelling Technique. Which means they gonna descend us manually with a rope and pulley, with a big faith in the people’s skill and strength who pull us up and down. Trust me, this is so scary yet so exciting at the same time. That feeling when they hooked your harness to the pulley and you have to stepped out of the edge and let yourself hanging there for a minute or so before they lower you down, is the craziest feeling ever.

When they already hang us up, now it’s the process of lowering us down to the forrest below. It was really overwhelming experience too. Eventhough everything is handled by the professional, there’s still nervous feeling of falling down from the rope. It is such a mixed feeling up there, mesmerised by the beauty of the forrest yet unavoidable anxious feeling of falling. The process of rappelling down is not that fast, it takes about more than 5 minutes to go down the 60 mtrs sinkhole.

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They gonna rappel you down two-by-two. If you’re in a group of three, one of you have to go alone. Lucky it was 4 of us back then. Haha..

Once you got down to the forrest, you have to trek about 300 mtrs to get to the heart of Jomblang Cave. The track is quite difficult for me, since it’s very muddy, it’s a real forrest, slippery and rocky to go down the cave. And when you reached the cave, it will only get darker and darker, and your eyes cant really see anything at first. If you have headlight, it will be so helpful when you get in to the cave. But if you dont have one, it is still okay since the jomblang team will light the way for us as well.

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After the ‘struggle’, we finally got to see the ‘Heaven’s Rays of Lights’. Such a jaw-dropping moment. When i first saw it, i just want to stand there, in the middle of the cave and just pay attention at the mesmerising scene. But i have to keep moving, cause it is not the best spot to see it yet, and i hold up the other people behind me.

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After a quite challenging track, finally everything is paid off. And the Rays of Lights that penetrate through the sinkhole is just so captivating, so remarkable and hypnotising, until it left me speechless.

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Such an amazing natural creation. I still cant comprehend how it was used to be a large underground river that erodes slowly and made it a gigantic beautiful cave. Gosh, it is just so mind blowing. Guess it’s just like life, sometimes you dont know the mundane process that you are going through now may mold you to become a more beautiful you at the end of the day.

Thanks to two explorers (a German and a French) who discovered this place during 1980s. Would not have this kind of fulfilling trip if not because of their team.

Btw, it was a group 4oish people when we went down that day. And surprisingly, it was only 5 Indonesians from that large group of people. Bravo for Indonesia tourism.. I guess Indonesia is getting more popular now. And people start to go to other parts of Indonesia other than Bali. Haha.. The entrance fee is Rp 450,000 / person (inclusive lunch and equipments)

Below is my VLOG! Must watch on how we go rappel down!  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

Maldives of Indonesia

~ Everyone has its beauty, but not everyone sees it ~

Confucius 

My jaw literally dropped when i saw the perfect shades of blue right in front of my eyes. Never in my life i saw such an extended beauty in the land i called my home, Indonesia. I did google all the destinations before i left for Flores trip. but Trust me, this land called Taka Makasar is far more beautiful to see in person than in google image or Instagram.

This little Maldives of Indonesia located in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Nusa Tenggara Timur. Probably it takes about 30 minutes of boat-ride from the Manta Point. This little island is very unique, because you dont get to see it anytime you want. It will only appears when the tide is low. Some people call it ‘The Emerge Land’.

Since It is a very shallow island, our big boat cannot go near to it. As for me, the view was far more fantastic from the boat, you can see the vastness of the sea, the perfect shades of the blue sky and the ocean, and the small tiny island right in the middle of nowhere. More over if you have your cocktail, with a jazz music in the background and the ocean breeze blowing gently over your sun kissed skin. Oh, such a perfect moment from up there.

Nevertheless, i will suggest you to go down as well. Enjoy the waves that coming from your left and right sides of the ocean, enjoy the snorkelling and free diving, enjoy the beach-walking, and of course enjoy your self to have a great pictures to be taken. Haha.

Do not worry on how you’ll get there, every big boat that you ride already comes with a smaller boat to go to the small islands. Just dont forget to bring your own cute swim wear, snorkelling gears, and put a lot of sun-blocks if you dont want to get sun-burnt like me (since there’s no shelter at all),  or tanning lotion if you want to come back with a hot tanned skin.

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Drone footage of Taka Makasar from our Tour guide : Salam Ransel

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Taka Makasar View from our Boat

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*I got my sun-burnt already from my previous tank top while hiking. huftt*

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Pretty, isnt it? Ohh, i think i need more of this now, and a whole lot of girlstalk with this bunch.

~ There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean never stop kissing the shore line, no matter how many times it is sent away ~

Komodo ‘Hunting’ in Rinca Island (VLOG)

‘Oh No! My monthly period came early’ said one of the girl with frustation on her face

‘Sighhh.. Then How??’ replied the other girl

‘Guess we must ask Mas Ovel (the tour leader) whether you can come or not to Rinca Island?’

Since The Last Dragon of history can smell blood from 5km distance, of course it was kinda frightening for any girls who happen to have their monthly period on the trip to Rinca or Komodo Island.

‘Hey, Mas Ovel said i can still go to Rinca Island, just stay close with the Ranger’

Finally we got off the boat. The sun was at it’s highest on that day, it was scorching hot and we walked our way to the Last Jurassic Park. The land is super dry, the grasses and leaves turned brown-ish, a sign that Autumn is already approaching.

‘Shall we pray first?’ I asked

Well, since we just listened to the ranger stories that one of the Komodo just recently ate a human (the locals), so i guess a prayer is necessary.

After the short prayer session was over, we proceed to take the shortest route (1 hour) for Komodo ‘hunting’.. The Ranger said from the month of May to August is mating season and August to September is the season of laying their eggs.

We were so lucky when we went there, we saw so many Komodos, when we often heard some groups only saw one Komodo for the whole walking journey. We saw them sleeping, walking, drinking, watching over their eggs, saw a panting Komodo which just finished digging trap holes, and saw a Komodo who tried to fooled us by pretending to sleep.

Normally they use this tactic to fool their prey. They usually close one of it’s eye and open the other one, so their prey will feel secured being around the Komodo, and when the time is right it will snatch their prey with their powerful claws.

The ecosystem in Rinca island is still running well. Komodo has never been fed by the Rangers or anyone. In order to keep the ecosystem keep going, the rangers or anyone there never killed anything, including insects like centipedes, except mosquito. haha.

Btw we need to salute those Rangers who make themselves available to be in danger everyday in every 10 weeks (if im not wrong – so they rotate every 2 months). They stayed in a Ranger house whereby some Komodo can just sleep peacefully beneath it. And OH, for tourist, you need to be careful too when you go to the toilet. Must Inform the Ranger if you need to use the bathroom (well, actually you cant separate yourself from the group – everyone must stay together). Since Komodo hate the sun and loves to be in a cooler place, some Komodo can just decide to rest in front of the toilet, because they found it cooling to lay in the ceramic floor. But these scene normally only happened in the early morning.

During ‘laying-egg’ season, normally the Komodo moms will protect their eggs by digging trap holes. So the probability of other animals stealing and eating their eggs will be lesser. And once the egg popped, they will automatically release to the jungle. so survival of the fittest is so real in Rinca.

Talking about Komodo’s eating behaviour, they eat all kind of meats. Normally they will bite their prey (the bigger one like pig), leave it until it dies, and consume it when it turns to carcass.

I always thought that Komodo is already poisonous itself, to my surprise, they only become poisonous when they consume the dead animals that contains bacteria. Our Ranger, Mas Primus said if the new born dragon is taken to the zoo and well-feed with the good meat, it will be a non-venomous Komodo.

As for those dragon which ate human being as their prey, they will be exiled to Padar island, because they have less food over there. So, maybe that’s one of the reason why you cannot stay over in Padar island eventhough they offer you a great beauty up there.

Overall, visiting Rinca island is a must, a place where you can learn a lot about new things about our environment and Indonesia, and the only place in the world where they have the most Komodo dragon.. Another proud moment of being Indonesian. hahaha.

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**Ohh. this photo session was kinda unnerving. We couldnt make any sudden move and talk to loud when we are near them. So, everyone of us, including me have to slink / move quietly to capture this picture. Have to salute the Ranger who bravely squad near him just to take this picture. **

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All photos taken by Me and Salam Ransel, unedited.

 

 

 

 

The Majestic of Mount Bromo

10 of us were very ambitious to visit 2 mountains in 2 days.

so right after Mount Ijen, we rest awhile, and drive immediately to Mount Bromo. The journey from Bondowoso to Mount Bromo is about 4 hours drive. Same distance from Surabaya airport.

Mount Bromo is located in Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia. a part of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. with a height of 2,770 above the sea levels, just slightly shorter than Mount Ijen.

What do to there ?

Sight-seeing of course! haha.. To see a beautiful panoramic of the mountains, and dramatic landscape view from the Top of Mount Bromo.

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if you have this adventurous spirit, you can hike up to Semeru ! they said the hike is about 3 days 2 nights for normal Asian people to climb up.. and about 2 days 1 night for Fit Caucasian.. haishh.. definitely not my forte for now. haha.. but they said the hike now can be easier, by hiring a porter and a cook. so, they will bring and put up the tent, put up the portable toilet, and they will cook for you as well for the whole 3 days.. all you got to do is just to hike up that mountain. haha..

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IF you are ultra-fit,  you can do 100 Ultra Run Race, or the other word is, Mountain Marathon Run! *goshh.. as i know they have 3 categories, 50km, 100km, and 165km.. *faint.. apparently they do this to many mountains in the world, and Bromo is one of it.

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For you Jazz enthusiast, you can catch ‘Jazz Gunung’ or Jazz concert on Mount Bromo. This is a yearly event since 2009.

Where Did we go ? OR what place you must visit when you are in Bromo ? 

– Jeep Ride! 

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Well, actually this is something that you must ride, cause you cannot go there by normal cars. Normally all the Jeep will start to go up at 3am. Most hotels and home-stays will have a Jeep and a driver to rent out. so not to worry for the transport. A jeep can fit to 5 people, and you can share it with other visitors also if you dont mind. The Jeep cost about RP 300.000-400.000 / trip.

– Viewpoint / Penanjakan

Normally it’s the first place to go to see the Sunrise!

After 30 mins of Jeep Ride, you must go down and walk up to the Viewpoint. The distance is about 1km. There will be many ‘ojek’ / motorcycle taxi once you got down from the Jeep. Just be-careful because it’s so many of them and the road is so narrow. Ojek Cost is about RP 10.000-20.000 one way.

When we reach the Viewpoint, the sky is rather cloudy =(.. so we cant see the sunrise much.. and we decided to go off from there immediately.. or else it will be so darn crowded to go down to find your Jeep.

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– Mount Bromo / Bromo Crater

This is the place to see a dramatic landscape and great panoramic mountain view. We need to walk about 1-2km to reach the crater. if you want easier way, you can ride a horse as well. me and 2 other friends tried to ride the Horses, but i was so scared that i will fell off from the horse. haha.. the trail is not bumpy.. just that there are some uphil an downhil that scare me so much. haha. so i hold tightly to the horse-handle, and end up i did not enjoyed the scenery at all =(..  *dulu sok2an mau belajar horseback riding.. ini naik bromo aja gw takut. muahhaha*

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If you go by horse, it only take about 15 mins to reach the peak. If you are walking, it takes about 30-45 mins? depends on your pace. After you reached a hill, you need to climb up 198 stairs to get to the peak of Bromo, where you can see the Bromo crater. Not to worries if you got tired, there are a few stalls that sells water, instant noodle and coffee/tea when you reached the hill. There are a few pit-stops also if you got tired in climbing up the stairs.

and only 1 thing that i can say from up there, it was AWESOME!

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and after you got back, you can enjoy a bowl of ‘Bakso’ / Meatballs. So nice to eat this warm local food while it’s cold out there. Bakso cost RP. 10.000 / bowl.

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– Teletubbies hills (Bukit Telltubbies) / Savana

After the good food, we immediately go to Savana / Teletubbies Hill. For Nature Lovers, im sure you will love this greeneries pasture that seems no end.

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– Sea of Sand / Pasir Berbisik

This Bromo land is so so unique. if Teletubbies hills are all full with greeneries, Whispering Sand are sea of sands. We never got down from our Jeep, because everyone was still very exhausted. so we decided to go back to our Hotel. But it is indeed a great place if you want to have some photo-shoot.

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– Viewpoint II

Was so sad that we never go to Viewpoint II. People said it was quite a new view-point and it’s a better viewpoint, but still less people go to the second viewpoint. They call it Mount Kingkong, not sure why they name it ‘Gunung Kingkong’ haha. If i got a chance to go there again, surely im going to ask the jeep driver to go to this Viewpoint II.

 

Where to Stay ? 

– Actually you have an option not to stay in Bromo area. You can go from Surabaya / Malang at night, and reach Bromo around 2-3pm. Just a cheaper alternative.

– But if you want to stay and feel the cold breeze, there are many hotels and home-stays around there.. ranging from RP 200.000 – 1.000.000 / night. Please do your research or call the hotels first. because most of them dont have hot water for you to shower. If you have more money to spend, to can try to stay at Java Banana , The most expensive and the decent Hotel at Bromo.

And dont be shocked if the place that you are staying are full of Caucasians. That what happens to us. haha.. we were eating our diner at our hotel cafe, and we were like, ‘Where are we? it doesnt feel like we are in Indonesia.’ haha..

 

What to Eat ?

– Normally for lunch / dinner, most hotels or home-stays will have their own cafe.

– At Bromo itself, there’s a lot of local things to eat. Bakso / Meatball, Rojak / Fruit Salad with peanut gravy, Tahu Gejrot / Stinky Tofu with vinegar sauce, Siomay / Fishcakes with peanut gravy, Ketoprak / Rice Vermicilli with peanut gravy, Pop Mie / Instant Noodle, etc.

 

Tips

– Bring warm clothes, its cold up there (around 5 degree in the morning). I wore 3 clothes and 1 jacket. haha

– Dont go on weekend if you want to avoid crowds.

– Best Season is June – October, because it’s not rainy season.

– If you are renting a Car, ask them if the car price is inclusive gas, and toll charges.

– If you are signing up a tour package, as a few tours as they have different price even though they are offering same hotels and itinerary.

– Bring your own cloth to sleep in the hotel, because the bed and the blanket itself is very cold.

– Bring a mask. Dont know why when there’s a lot of Jeeps going up to Bromo, the gas smell is very strong.

– Bring More Cash. There’s no ATM up there.

– Bring you own shawl / gloves / beanie if you want to save money. The local people are selling the beanie and other items for RP 15.000 each. alternatively, you can buy from them also to support the local stuff and local people.

– Bring your own water. The water there can be quite expensive. The local people are selling around RP 10.000 / bottles

– Double check the horse price. Normally one way is about RP 50.000 and return trip is about RP 120.000.

 

* i got cheated by the horse guy. =(.. one of my friend already ride the horse up. then the rest of us were still thinking to ride or not. Then i decided to ride the horse.

Me : Bang, berapa kuda.nya ? // how much to ride the Horse?

Him : Samain aja Neng.. 125.000 kyk temen.nya.. // Rp 125.000, same price as your friend

Without hesitant, i immediately said OK and ride the horse. When i got down, suddenly i met the other friend who took the horse right after me.

Her : Jen.. gw capee. jadi gw naik kuda juga.. lu kena berapa ? // Jen.. im so tired, so i finally ride the horse too, how much did the guy charge you ?

Me : RP 125.000

Her : Mahal amat ?? Bolak balik // Why so expensive, is it return ?

Me : No, only 1 way.. =(

Then i met the other friend who went before me. He told me that his horse guy charged him RP 125.000 for return trip. huaaa.. there gone my money. haha.. but its okay.. i treat it as a blessings for the horse guy. =)

– The last and the most important Tips. JUST HAVE FUN !

 

Hopefully this is useful for you, who knows Bromo can be your first holiday choice for 2015. =)

**All photos are taken by Iphone 6, unedited. Only 2 pics edicted by VSCOcam. How i love my new phone. ❤

Mount Ijen, a place where i met myself

If You Travel Far Enough, You will Meet Yourself – David Mitchell 

First of all, i would like to say, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you! wishing you a greater life ahead in 2015! New Hope, New Faith, New Joy! ❤ ❤

Few weeks ago, i went to Mount Ijen, Banyuwangi, Indonesia. A mountain that not as famous as Bromo, but it’s so challenging that i can put that quote on this entry. Me and 9 other friends were in the search of Blue fire. People said, there’s only 2 places in world to see the Blue Fire phenomenon. One is in Iceland, and the other one is in Bondowoso/Banyuwangi, Indonesia. Aren’t we supposed to be proud being Indonesian ?? haha.

We reached Surabaya (Juanda Airport) around 2pm, and immediately go to Bondowoso, East Java, Indonesia. The travelling time from Surabaya to Bondowoso took about 5 hours time, and from Bondowoso to Mount Ijen takes about 2 more hours.

Technically, it was one full day without sleep.. we reached to our Hotel at Ijen around 8.30pm, took some shower, grab some diner, and we must go again to Mount Ijen at 11pm. was thinking to take some nap in the van, but too bad.. the road was very bumpy and we couldnt sleep at all.

But the universe marveled us when we got down from the van, we saw myriad of stars that is so beautiful that makes all of us stand in awe. *udah kyk di tebar aja itu bintang2 sama Tuhan*. if only i know how to read constellations. haha.. Tried to capture the pretty stars, but too bad. our technology is not that advanced. haha.

We started the Hike at 1am. the guide said, if you are in your prime conditions, the hike will only takes about 1 hr..

and guess how long did we take ??

we took 3 freaking hours to go up there! just to see the Blue Fire..

me and one of my friend was not in the prime condition, so we stopped a lot of times to catch our breath. Well, as for me, im not an outdoor and sporty type of girl, even a 20 minutes hike was so darn tiring for me. haha. Anyway, i want to thank all my 9 friends who had been so patiently waiting for me when i was so exhausted.

The hike was crazy i may say.. the uphill is intense.. no lighting at all, so all of us use our phone torch light to light the way. the air is thin as we are going up. and high cliff on our left and right side.. *ngeri kan boo.. udah gelap. terus kiri kanan jurang* then when we are about to reach the peak, the sulphur smell was so strong that it hurts our throat.. and we made the biggest mistake that day.. we did not bring any water.. *goshh.. everyone was about to faint already.. only 1 person brought 1 bottles, so we just shared it among us.

DSC_2799*resting area in the middle of our Hike. there’s one small shop *warung*, but it only open at 5am in the morning. =( *

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*the eeriness in the middle of the night* horror ya booo kalo pake flash, ga tau yg ke capture apa. haha.

Mas. Rofik, our guide was so calm and composed when telling us to be careful because our left and right was a 100 meters cliff which end at the some forest. so, if we misstep..  well.. it’s a goodbye then.

Thankfully the 10 of us can reach the peak of Ijen safe and sound that morning, but too bad the Blue Fire was not that light because too much smoke and only vaguely seen. Mas Rofik said, we must go down to have a clearer view of the blue fire..

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picture source from here 

We expected to see something like above pictures, but from up there, it’s just like Batman’s vague spotlight.. just a 2 blue dots appeared. All of my friends decided not to go further to the crater, because the trail is so crazily unbelievable.

But my heart said, GO! you are here already.. if you dont get to see the Blue Fire, at least you can see how far you can go.. how far that you can push yourself to reach for goal. Finally, only me, Bern who agreed to go down the crazy trail. and you know what??

It was the craziest thing that i have done in my life! it was still dark, and the trail was vaguely seen and rocky. it’s just like rock climbing i may say. i was very afraid that i will slip and fell down. Thank God there was Mas Rofik, our guide that hold my hand tightly so i didnt fell over. The trail was very very difficult to walk down. i was about to give up so many times, because i slipped a few times and i was super duper afraid that i will fell down, and cannot go up again to the mountain peak. it was no joke one of the scariest moment of my life.

Finally, in the middle of our way down, we can see more the 2 spots of the Blue Fire.. ya..ya.. i know it’s far from expectations. the thick smoke covered all the blue fire. =( But it’s okay! It’s the Journey, not the destination, right ?. =)

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and below is what we saw when the morning comes. The Ijen Crater

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*As mentioned, The very thick sulphur smoke that hinder us from seeing the Blue Fire =(.. This smoke is somehow poisonous, so we must use this ‘darth-vader’ mask to breath*

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*The Ijen Crater, one of the most acidic lake in the world!*

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After ‘relaxing’ a while at the crater, we went back up to meet our 8 friends. and this is how the trail looks like!

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It was so crazy, right? and did you see the man in-front of us ? He is carrying 70-80kg of sulphur.. Yes.. he is a sulphur miner for one company. they got paid about 900 – 1000 rupiah for each kg.. so, their total income per day is only around 60.000 – 80.000 Rupiah..  ( 8-9 SGD) depends on how strong they can carry it up..

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Tragic isnt it ? Rich land, yet so many unfortunate people that need to risk their life everyday to go up and down this dangerous trail just to get a living. They are selling the some small sulphur for souvenirs as well that range 10.000-15.000 Rupiah.

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*di gandeng sama Mas Rofik. muahahha.. Btw, This Mas Rofik is just like God who is guiding your way. as described earlier that it was so dark and we only have minimum light from his small torch light. and the best part is.. he was walking down backwards while holding my hand and show me which rock to step.DSC_2870

see how rocky it is? it’s so much easier to climb up than to go down. Stories told that a HUGE  rock about to fell down, but it never fall until that day. ahh.. cant imagine if it really fell and hit some people below. Also, we have been told that 1 week earlier, one French Lady slipped, fell, knocked her head, and passed away on the spot. Me and Bern heard this when we are already back at the mountain peak. Else, i think we would not be so brave to go down to the crater.

and we were up again at the Peak, we saw this breathtaking view! all of us so shocked to see the trail that we took last night. haha

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and we Reunited with the 8 others!

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and on our way down, we saw the sun just rise up! but still misty and smokey. so didnt manage to capture the sun well. =(

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and saw this beautiful view as well.. so calming, right ?

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and Finally, we reached the pit stop whereby they have the small shop or ‘Warung’. 1 bought 1 bottles of water, and finished it all in one shot. haha.. so thirstyyy..

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*pardon my face. haha.. lagi minum pas di voto. haha*

After resting for a while, we continue our walk down that took us another 3 hrs.

Well, maybe this mountain is a very easy track for some people.. but definitely not for me.. haha. But i really learn something that day, that i dont easily give up for things. and im proud of that. haha.. hopefully this trip can be a good reminder for me to push harder in 2015 to achieve my life goals! cheers! ❤

We Dont Stop When We are Tired. We Stop When We are Finished!

Most Photos Credit to : Refocus Photos

** Took some videos when we were at the Ijen Crater.. sorry for the not-so-good video.. **